The scope of untapped opportunities for Bitcoin growth is massive in Southeast Asia, as pointed out by venture capitalist John Kim. (NewsBTC) While the infamous blockchain cryptocurrency has experienced just about regular growth rates in Western countries, the potential for exposure, expansion and acceptance is quite large in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Kim imparted his insights and vision for Bitcoin opportunities in Southeast Asia in the recent Coin Congress conference held in San Francisco. He highlighted the following reasons to be the prime factors for Bitcoin businesses to pay attention to this Asian region.
Southeast Asia’s Youth Population And Smartphones
One big reason to observe market behavior in Southeast Asia is the mostly young population with an incredible smartphone penetration. There are 618 million people living in the region and they boast of above-average penetration rates for smartphone usage. The Philippines and Indonesia are eyeing over 50% penetration, which means that more than half of their populations are tech-innate and progressive individuals who value the convenience of apps.
It won’t be a problem explaining the technical nature of Bitcoin, because the audience is already used to the lingo based on everyday experiences with smartphone technology.
The Money Remittance Industry
Due to the significantly lower costs of transactions through bitcoins, a lot of merchants and consumers have shifted to, or at least tried, Bitcoin. Credit card companies and money transfer agencies can no longer keep up with the demand for frictionless transfers, which entails quicker confirmations, same-day transfers and little to no transaction fees.
50% of the $500 billion international remittance market belongs to Asia alone. China is recorded to have $60 billion in remittances, India with a little over $50 billion, and the ASEAN nations with another $50 billion.
Because Bitcoin provides a cheaper and faster way to move money, people are naturally gravitating towards trying this option over others.
The Alternative To Banking
Moreover, the sector of Southeast Asian societies that don’t have access to banking services such as loans and credit cards is sizeable. These underdeveloped regions have a high need for financing opportunities but have neglected access to banking. Cambodia only has 4% of its total population banked, Vietnam has 21%, Laos and the Philippines have only 27% each, compared to the 98% banked population in Singapore.
This is a large gap in extended financial solutions that Bitcoin can fill.
In summary, Southeast Asia has a palpable need for better ways to store and transfer money, and its merchants need cheaper means to transact. With Bitcoin, not only will the source of funds diversify, but these clear opportunities for better money solutions will also be fulfilled.